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SaGa Frontier

Traditional RPG
  • 03/25/98
  • 03/20/02
B- 27 total ratings
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What's worse than one bad tale? Seven of them

A SaGa Frontier review Author: Wiegraf Published: February 09, 2005
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I admire what Squaresoft was trying to accomplish with SaGa Frontier--a game that seems absolutely breathtaking in theory. Take the talented RPG creators of Square, then add in a quest spanning seven people\monster\robot's lives in order to add variety and replay value. You could see a world from the view of many different personalities as you explore a vast, ever-changing world. Now you see why Squaresoft went ahead with this idea.
Now let me show you why it was a mistake.
When you first turn on SaGa Frontier, things look promising--it has a very impressive opening movie, and the sprite-based graphics are vibrant and colorful. This is really the only part of SaGa Frontier where I was impressed--and graphics are not my numero uno reason for recommending a game.
So let's jump headlong into the flaws, and we'll start with some of the milder flaws. For one, the sound is not up to par for the rest of the series. I'm used to hearing stirring themes in just about every RPG I pick up, and especially considering Square's pedigree (with masters like Uematsu and Mitsuda). However, SaGa's tunes are seemingly created by a 17-year old band student--there are flashes of brilliance here and there, but mostly the music is just a series of sounds that don't mesh or sound very well together.
Now we come to a much larger flaw, and perhaps one that makes any good things I could say about the game moot. It simply does not explain itself to a satisfactory degree. In other words, when I was fighting, looking through the menu, or simply exploring where to go next, it felt like complete guesswork. Don't try reading the manual--it doesn't help. This is a game that could have benifitted IMMENSELY from some kind of help system (especially in battle, where just about everything you try to do takes a series of hard-to-execute commands).
Now we come to the biggest flaw of the game: It is simply uninteresting. I pose to you this question: if you played a game with a deep, multi-faceted story and well-developed characters, could you stomach problems with the battle system? I myself would surely take the time and put forth some effort to see a tale I was excited by. However, SaGa Frontier sounds its death knell when it introduces its characters, who are about as uncliched as a coach in a sports movie. Then, it hits a double whammy with its storyline. You'd think a game with "SaGa" in its name would be very careful to create a stirring tale, but apparently the creators didn't really realize (or care about) this. Basically, just about every character has a slightly-different quest with the same result and method of accomplishment: Beat the living tar out of every monster sprite you encounter. Rinse and Repeat.
Is this all the problems I had with the game? Um, no. Add on to this the fact that the game seems to hate giving you directions (i.e., you have to talk to literally everyone to find a way ahead, or you can go from fighting enemies that deal no damage to fighting ones that deal one-hit kills within 1 or 2 screens) and the confusing menu and status screens, and you have yourself a game to stay far, far away from.
The most ringing endorsement I can come up with for SaGa Frontier? It only cost me 7.99 at Gamestop. If you can find it for that, and have a yen for being underwhelmed, be my guest. Have a ball.
Editor's Grade
dotted line "Instead of following the first word of the title, follow the second: leave SaGa Frontier far, far out in the cold, dark RPG Frontier with Aidyn Chronicles and other such drivel--it is a waste of time and money. Shame on you Square."
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